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What does the audit function involve?

what are the functions of an auditor

All about the Controller and Auditor-General.

The Auditor-General is responsible for auditing all entities in the public sector. This includes the financial statements of the Government and all types of public entity:

  • government departments – such as the Department of Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Education;
  • Crown entities – such as the Commerce Commission, district health boards, the New Zealand Tourism Board, and all school boards of trustees;
  • State-owned enterprises – entities that are owned by the Government and have a strong commercial focus, such as New Zealand Post Limited or Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited;
  • local authorities and their subsidiaries – city, district, and regional councils, and council-controlled organisations such as charitable trusts and incorporated societies associated with local authorities; and
  • statutory boards and other public bodies – such as airport authorities and reserve boards.

The Auditor-General audits about 4000 public entities, of which 3000 are schools or very small entities.

What does the Auditor-General look for?

The Auditor-General's work is designed to give assurance to Parliament, public entities, and the public that public entities are fairly reflecting the results of their activities in their annual reports.

The Auditor-General also keeps an eye on whether public entities are carrying out their activities effectively and efficiently, and on matters of waste, probity, legislative compliance, and financial prudence in the public sector.

Quality assurance and monitoring audit fees

The Auditor-General appoints auditors who have relevant sector expertise to ensure that the audit will be consistent with the Auditor-General's auditing standards, and that the auditor's expertise can be maintained and enhanced. Quality assurance processes regularly review the performance of auditors.

The Auditor-General also carries out independent fee monitoring to ensure that audit fees are fair and reasonable – so that the public entity gets the right level of audit effort for its circumstances and risks, and the auditor is fairly paid, in line with the market for audit services.

Page last updated: 2 March 2012

Category: Taxes

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